Observations placeholder

Xam bushmen - Goes underwater

Identifier

004923

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Much out of body travel is guided, much as it was in Dante's allegory where he is guided by Virgil, much can be 'underwater as it was in Beowulf.  The following example is that of a Xam/San bushman.

A description of the experience

David Lewis-Williams – The Mind in the Cave

Both underground and underwater experiences are evident in an account of a shamanistic journey that K”au Giraffe a Ju/’hoan San shaman gave Megan Biesele.  He began by saying that his protector or animal helper and Kaoxa came and ‘took’ him………..

We travelled until we came to  a wide body of water… Kaoxa made the waters climb, and I lay my body in the direction they were flowing.  My feet were behind, and my head was in front … Then I entered the stream and began to move forward .. My sides were pressed by bits of metal.  Metal things fastened to my sides.  And in this way I travelled forward, my friend.. And the spirits were singing”

After reaching the spirit world, Kaoxa taught K”au how to dance and told him that his protector, the Giraffe, would give him potency.  Then suddenly, K”au finds himself once more underwater

But I was underwater! I was gasping for breath, I called out ‘Don’t kill me!  Why are you killing me?’  My protector answered ‘If you cry out like that, I’m going to make you drink.  Today I’m going to make you drink water…’  The two of us struggled until we were tired.  We danced and argued and I fough the water for a long long time..

Then my friend, my protector spoke to me, saying that I would be able to cure.  He said that I would stand up and trance.  He told me that I would trance.  And the trancing he was talking about, my friend, - I was already doing it … Then my protector told me that I would enter the earth.  That I would travel far through the earth and then emerge at another place”

Here the underwater and underground experiences are mixed.  But we can see how the San understand the universal experiences of altered states.  Struggle, fear, the idea of death, gasping for breath, constricting pressure on the sides of the body, they are all present

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Earth
Water

Science Items

Atonia

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Suppressions

Inherited genes

Commonsteps

References